While pregnant, there are exercises that should be avoided, and some to be modified. Some exercises can cut off or reduce circulation, while others can put you at risk for falling or getting hit in the stomach. Then, there are some exercises that can cause or worsen Diastasis Recti. Here is a list of exercises to avoid while pregnant.

pregnant plank

1. Anything Lying Flat On Your Back

After the first trimester, avoid exercising while lying flat on your back. The weight of your uterus puts pressure on a major vein called the vena cava, which can reduce blood flow to your heart and may diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus. This can make you dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated.

2. Hot Yoga/Hot Pilates/Exercise in Extreme Heat Outside

Increased blood flow and a higher metabolic rate when you’re pregnant mean you’ll feel warmer than usual, especially when you exercise. Because of this, you may get overheated much faster than you normally would, even before your belly starts to really grow. This is the reason it’s especially important to avoid exercising in hot or humid conditions during pregnancy. When it’s hot out, your body has a harder time regulating your body temperature.

Pay attention for signs of being overheated- these may vary person to person but sweating a LOT or feeling uncomfortably warm, nauseated, dizzy, or short of breath need to be taken seriously.

3. High Impact Sports

Sports of any kind that can lead to injury to the abdomen area are not a good idea during pregnancy. So avoid contact sports (for example basketball and soccer) as well as activities that might throw you off balance and cause a fall, such as horseback riding, surfing, water skiing, gymnastics, downhill skiing, or mountain biking. Cycling early in your pregnancy should be okay if you’re already comfortable on a bike, but it’s probably best to stick to stationary bikes later in pregnancy since your body changes so quickly, the change in weight could cause you to be off-balance.

5. Push-Ups or Planks


This may not be true for EVERY person, however for the most part, these should be avoided during second and third trimester of pregnancy.  The strain you’ll place on your core could lead to diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation).  You can switch to doing push-ups standing against a wall after the first trimester.

6. Crunches

With crunches #1 you’re laying flat on your back, and #2, the outcome can be the same as push-ups or planks, your ab muscles can separate or worsen the separation if you already have some degree of diastasis recti.


While the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training are great for a lot of people, pregnancy isn’t the best time to jump on the bandwagon if you’ve never done it before.  If you’ve already been doing this type of training for a while before becoming pregnant, as always, discuss with your doctor if it’s OK to continue (modified) HIIT, however, if you’re pregnant and have never done it before, try a different type of exercise.

Make sure you properly cool down and stretch!  This could be 5 minutes of walking, and then a couple different stretches.


When To Stop:

Apart from the exercises to avoid while pregnant mentioned above, you can go ahead and enjoy exercise regularly- ensuring you have proper guidance if needed. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop exercising and rest:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Premature contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Lack of fetal movement

Always discuss exercise with your doctor in your early appointments, just to ensure you’re on the same page, and mention any symptoms you may have experienced.

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